Cindy Sheehan: This is NOT a Rally

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

[UPDATE:] More from the CarrboroCitizen.

[UPDATEx2:] Some photos of the event..

Peggy Misch wants to make sure everyone knows, in spite of what the local press says, there is no Sheehan rally at Carr Mill Mall. Just a simple lunch with Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton and some folks from GRIM ( Grassroots Impeachment Movement).

It appears Cindy is interested in lending her weight to the movement to boot Bush out of office.

The original scuttle-butt suggested there would be a rally on the Weaver St. lawn, but fears of another backlash quashed those plans.

How sad that a visitor of Sheehan’s nature can’t stand under the broad branches of the sheltering trees of the Weave’s lawn to tell her story and make a call for action.

This is NOT a rally on the privately held Carr Mill parking lots.

Peggy Misch, not attending a protest rally.

Other non-protesters at a non-rally on Carr Mill’s private property.

Cindy Sheehan, welcome to Carrboro/Chapel Hill

Maybe there was no room under the tree? Whoops, doesn’t appear so…

Democrats No Longer

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I’m a registered Independent.

OK, OK. I know there is no such thing as an Independent designation, just unaffiliated.

Unaffiliated. Indecisive. Indifferent. Uncommitted. Uninvolved. Fence-sitter. Don’t care.

A truly perverse bit of political framing.

I hope my occasional contributions to the local debate (CitizenWill , OrangePolitics, SqueezeThePulp, the Daily Tar Heel, the Chapel Hill News) and my willingness to take principled, though sometimes unpopular, stands on local issues demonstrates a small measure of care and commitment.

For years I’ve worked to elect Democrats. Dropped a few bucks here and there for a few of their more worthwhile national candidates. Sat polls for the local Orange County party. Contributed oodles of time to their and other affiliated organizations’ efforts to Get Out The Vote (GOTV). No plans to stop those efforts anytime soon.

But I am no Democrat (I was once). And I am no Republican (never have, never will be).

Heck, don’t try to graph my position on the one dimensional line passing through the Democrats Right to Republicans…. I, like many other local folks, exist outside these parties calculus.

I don’t know why three folks chose this week, from the many other recent weeks of Democratic disappointment, to ask me how to switch their party affiliation.

Maybe it was the recent reversal on Iraq or just the steady dissipation of last November’s promise.

Why me? I’m certainly not trying to “recruit” Independents. Sure, I haven’t been reserved in expressing my dissatisfaction with our local Democrat US Representative. They each knew of my efforts to open the local political scene to Independents via non-partisan elections and other voting reforms.

And I’ve been quite open about my status.

When, during my 2005 run for Town Council, a few local political operators counseled quiet discretion – suggesting talk of my non-affiliation would lead to a loss of stalwart Dem votes – I countered that to do so would not only be against my own tenets but promulgate the ruinous myth that folks are only capable of selecting representatives that fall along a one-dimensional political axis.

They might’ve been right. I did lose.

There is safety in numbers. Yet change springs from the outliers. And in today’s United States, it isn’t too far from “united we stand, divided we fall” to “deru kugi wa utareru”.

If you would like to lose your affiliation, either Republican or Democrat, or register to vote under any flag, the procedure is easy:

  • Review the instructions here.

    If you wish to change your party affiliation, you must complete either a Voter Registration Application Form (downloaded from address above) or complete the reverse side of a Voter Registration Card that has been mailed to you and return to the Board of Elections. All changes must be either postmarked or received in the Board of Election’s office at least 25 days before the election.

  • Download the registration form here [PDF].
  • Emancipate yourself from either of the two currently recognized parties.

Scared? You don’t have to go totally “cold turkey”. You will still be able to play some of the old game, for instance voting in either party’s primary. Initially, in many ways both large and small, you’ll feel stuck on the sidelines – constrained to vote for choices you wouldn’t have made, for flavors as close as Pepsi to Coke.

At first you might feel a little light-headed drifting above our current political Flatland. Navigating the multi-dimensional political reality we all currently occupy, whether we appreciate it or not, without the constant tether of partisan loyalty is heady stuff. Don’t panic! After a while, the relief of free agency sets in.

Still, though shorn of your party’s old baggage, paralyzed by its intransigence no longer, you leave one burden for another.

Sorry. Independence doesn’t mean “indecisive”. It doesn’t mean “uncommitted” And it certainly doesn’t mean “don’t care”.


Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Another back and forth between Orange County Democrats over the Iraq debacle, local Representative Price’s efforts to scale it back and the party’s local leadership communicating that effectively (OrangePolitics Art on Weaver and Nudge Price, No More War Funding).

On the cusp of Bush’s Iraq “surge” the moment has come for the Democratic Party, and our local Representative David Price (contact), to make a stand.

This far and no farther, if for no other reason than the selfish desire to preserve what shred of credibility remains with their party’s leadership.

As I noted, Iraq 2007 has been quite bloody for civilians as exemplified by these individual incidents:

  • 01/16/07 100 killed, 245 wounded
  • 01/22/07 75 killed, 160 wounded
  • 01/30/07 38 killed, 100 wounded
  • 02/01/07 60 killed, 150 wounded
  • 02/03/07 120 killed, 340 wounded
  • 02/12/07 90 killed, 190 wounded
  • 02/18/07 60 killed
  • 03/06/07 120 killed, 200 wounded

The coalition casualties continue to mount.

In Iraq:

There have been 3,451 coalition deaths — 3,193 Americans, two Australians, 134 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, six Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 32 Italians, one Kazakh, three Latvian, 19 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians — in the war in Iraq as of March 12, 2007, according to a CNN count.


In Afghanistan:

There have been 536 coalition deaths — 367 Americans, one Australian, 52 Britons, 45 Canadians, three Danes, three Dutch, nine French, 18 Germans, nine Italians, one Norwegian, one Portuguese, four Romanians, one South Korean, 20 Spaniards, two Swedes — in the war on terror as of March 12, 2007, according to a CNN count. Below are the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors whose deaths have been reported by their country’s governments. The troops died in support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom or were part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.


Compromised beyond reason, the vastly weakened Democrat-sponsored legislation creeps through Congress.

Pelosi also fielded criticism from lawmakers for removing language from the bill barring military action against Iran without congressional approval. She said the issue would be addressed in future legislation.

“We’re having folks expressing every doubt, every reservation, every aspiration they have for this bill,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., another supporter.

In a bid to broaden its appeal, leaders stripped the Iran requirement and omitted language favored by several liberal members that would have specifically prohibited funding of military operations after fall 2008.

While the liberals said this threat would help enforce the deadline, Democratic leaders viewed the politically charged language as unnecessary.

The measure provides nearly $100 billion for two wars, including more money than Bush had requested for operations in Afghanistan, and to address what Democrats called training and equipment shortages. House Republicans say they will work to sink the measure, and the White House threatens a veto.

USA Today

No withdrawal by 2008. No restrictions on an Iranian adventure. $100 billion for “readiness training and equipment” on top of the $540+ billion already ear-marked for 2007/2008 (this with the US already accounting for 48% of 2006’s total military spending).

Price should say “No deal”.

Corbomite II: RobertP’s Lieberman Maneuver

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

CountryCrats RobertP has an excellent recommendation for keeping Joe Lieberman in line

There really is only one thing the Senate Democrats, with their old-fashioned Senate rulebook, can do [about Lieberman siding with the Republicans]. Promise him, in private, that if he switches they will pocket every bill he ever proposes, interrupt every speech he ever seeks to give, force him to read the text of every amendment he offers, and make him dance the hula in his underwear. I believe that is actually possible under current Senate rules.

Let Joe know that there won’t be one penny of pork coming to CT, there won’t be any saved sub bases, there won’t be any bills with the Lieberman (CFL) name on them passed in this Senate if he caucuses with the Republicans. None. Ever. No matter what.

(via BlueNC)

Faintly reminiscent of the Corbomite Maneuver

Kirk:“Our respect for other life forms requires that we give you this… warning. One item not recorded in any ship’s tapes is… Corbomite. It is a substance and a device that prevents… attack on us. Should any destructive energy touch the ship, an energy of equal or greater strength is returned, destroying –”

Balok:“Eight minutes.”

Kirk:“– destroying the attacker. It may interest you to know that since the introduction of Corbomite, more than two of our centuries ago, no attacking vessel has survived the attempt. Death has little meaning to us… if it has none to you, then attack us now. We grow annoyed at your foolishness.”

Looks like the stratagem will have to be applied sooner than later – Lieberman stands firm on Iraq war…Connecticut Post.

Fool me once, shame on you…: Possible Republican Judge Election Trickery

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

According to WCHL1360 some kind of organized tomfoolery is going on at the Morehead Planetarium polling place

Some students from UNC Chapel Hill are working to get votes for Conservative judges, but are not always transparent in their efforts.

Chapel Hill attorney Bob Epting says a young woman approached him outside the polling place and asked if he was a Democrat.  When he said yes, she gave him a list of candidates.

The implication was the list was of progressive judges (essentially Democrats) in this non-partisan race.

Fred Black relates the following over on OP:

Yesterday when I voted at Morehead (#996 since Oct. 23d), there was a young lady on the edge of the parking lot. She asked me if I was going to vote and I replied that I was. She handed me a small piece of paper that listed Duke, Martin, Levinson, Calabria, Bailey, and Stroud. With the DTH and the WCHL story as background, I asked if the named people were all Republicans. She said that she thought so but their’s are nonpartisan races. I asked her what organization she represented and she said she was just helping her friend who was in class.

More information on this BlueNC and OrangePolitics threads.

With the current vote flipping problems in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Florida – all biased towards Republican candidates – one has to wonder if the Morehead trickery is the least of election 2006 problems.

That said, I’ve gone ahead and contacted the campaigns of Duke, Martin, Levinson, Calabria, Bailey, and Stroud in case they weren’t aware of folks scamming the electorate in their name.

Their handling of this mess will be a great indicator of their willingness to cultivate public trust both in the election and judicial process.

Contact information:

  • Judge Duke –
  • Justice Martin –
  • Judge Levinson –
  • Judge Calabria –
  • Judge Bailey –
  • Judge Stroud –

Mailto link: MAIL the JUDGES.

My email:

RE: Apparent organized effort to deceive Orange County voters
TO: Judge Duke, Justice Martin, Judge Levinson, Judge Calabria, Judge Bailey, Judge Stroud

According to local media reports (WCHL1360 – ) and several eyewitness reports ( ) , an organized effort is being made in Orange County to deceive voters in your name. A list of your names is being presented to Democratic voters in a fashion meant to mislead uninformed voters into voting for you.

Given your current standings as judges, given the responsibility you’ve been entrusted with, given the tenor of all your campaigns, I imagine this tomfoolery comes both as a surprise and a disappointment.

Now that you are aware of the problem, would you please publicly ask the participants to desist? A quick resolution to this problem will serve the public well.

Thank you for your prompt attention,

Will Raymond
Independent, Orange County

Judge Free Speech

Friday, October 20th, 2006

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m hooked on the ‘blog CreditSlips, “A blog on all things about credit and bankruptcy. We are seven academics who will use this space to do what we like to do when we get together–discussing and debating what does happen and what should happen when consumers and businesses borrow money.”

Local UNC law professor, Japanese internment expert and battler of the Malkinator, Eric Muller (, turned me on to these wild-n-wacky debt analysts last year.

One of their more interesting and disturbing threads involves Judge Leif Clark, a man of conscience, driven to criticize the precipitous dissipation of our civil liberties. Turns out that the Judge exposed himself to censure for practicing his First Amendment right to declaim the Bush madministration’s actions.

Over the past two weeks, I have been following a story about Leif Clark, a bankruptcy judge in San Antonio (see here and here). As regular Credit Slips readers will remember, Judge Clark wrote a letter to National Public Radio responding to an interview. In the letter, Judge Clark made remarks highly critical of the Bush Administration’s attitude toward civil liberties. At the time, I thought we had the proverbial tempest in a teapot about whether Judge Clark’s comments violated the Canons of Judicial Ethics which forbid judges from engaging in “political activity.” The San Antonio News-Express has reported that Judge Clark’s comments are now “under review by the chief judge of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the tribunal that disciplines federal judicial misconduct in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.”

Further commentary over on CreditSlips.

The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Keith Olbermann, Sept. 11th, 2006 – on fire:

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are “soft”, or have “forgotten” the lessons of what happened here — is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante — and at worst, an idiot — whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

…in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight.

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices – to be found only in the minds of men.

“For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own — for the children, and the children yet unborn.”


Five Long Years

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides.

Time makes more converts than reason.

As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the Means of calling the right of it in question (and in Matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the Sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry) and as the King of [America] hath undertaken in his OWN RIGHT, to support the [Congress] in what he calls THEIRS, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpation of either.

Thomas Paine (abridged) – Common Sense, Philadelphia, February 14, 1776, 3rd edition

Five long years of depredations to both our Constitutional freedoms and to our Nation’s good standing, one may hope that Time makes more converts than reason, for reason alone has not yet won the day.

Practicing “moral mischief”, the President’s men, steeped in treachery, subscribing to ” professional belief to things they do not believe”, have “corrupted and prostituted the chastity” of our nation’s mind and prepared our country for the commission of heinous crimes antithetical to its founding spirit.

Leading up to this anniversary, confounding all good sense and common reason, our mad-ministration continued to lie about their call to war, to justify cruel and unusual punishments, to undercut or abolish acts under which they might eventually be punished, to pervert the course of justice – all in an effort to tighten their grip on their dissipating power.

Today, a day we should honor the sacrifice of our citizens by celebrating the highest ideals of democracy, our President shamelessly wrapped himself in an ash stained flag – and feebly tried to resurrect his waning fortunes by justifying his race towards tyranny in pursuit of the noblest of causes – freedom for all.

Yet, returning true to form, our modern-day Janus once again condemned those that rightfully question the accelerating mischief, misery and death he and his ruling party have caused. Forgetting a previous President’s admonition that those who question power are indispensible, “for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.”

His and his cronies’ calumny should not, must not, stand.

Yet, in the last five years, as the 4th estate floundered and the electorate wavered, so many slights – large and small – have gone without due reckoning. Weariness melds with a sadness borne of watching our hard-earned freedoms and worldwide goodwill slip so easily beyond our nation’s grasp.

Fortunately, the deepest and darkest of shadows serve to concentrate our attention on the merest flickers of light

Yes, what my generation earned too lightly, we’ve esteemed too little. But now we’re blessed with a clear distinction and sharp contrast between two futures: a declining fascist state of Amerika or “a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.”

Remembering that “those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must…undergo the fatigue of supporting it”, to honor this day, I’ll continue to try to be Paine’s man that “smiles in trouble”, “gathers strength from distress” and “grows brave by reflection”.

Mission Accomplished, President Bush!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

President Bush rambles on incoherently as NBC anchor Brian Williams interviews him during a shameful Katrina anniversary photo-op. Bush’s defense of his failed presidency is scary not for the willful lies but for the uninspected belief in his own infallibility.

He says (5:26 into this interview snippet)

The key to me is to keep expectations low.

Yep, could almost be no lower Mr. President. Mission accomplished.

Video via CrooksAndLiars.

And, yes, I rarely if ever mention the national political scene but local blogher ae over at arsepoetica stirred my ire by highlighting Bush and his madministration’s lackeys continuing condemnation of political dissent as un-fricken-American.


Salt Lake Utah’s Mayor Rocky Anderson’s rebuttal via Anglico’s ‘blog on BlueNC.

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.

A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating president.

That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience – a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid – afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane, regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.

In response to those who believe we should blindly support this disastrous president, his administration, and the complacent, complicit Congress, listen to the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a great president and a Republican, who said:

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.



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